Stop Street Harassment is proud to support a campaign by Everyday Sexism; Women, Action & the Media; and our friend writer/activist Soraya Chemaly to get Facebook to stop allowing people to post content that depicts or supports violence against women and girls.
They write, “Facebook has long allowed content endorsing violence against women. They claim that these pages fall under the “humor” part of their guidelines, or are expressions of “free speech.” But Facebook has proven willing to crack down on other forms of hate speech, including anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and homophobic speech, without claiming such exemptions. That’s why we’re calling on Facebook to make the only responsible decision and ban gender-based hate speech.”
Read the open letter and take action by contacting companies whose ads appear on offensive content to let them know and to ask them to do something. It’s very easy to contact the companies using the mechanisms the campaign provides. On Twitter, use the hashtag, #FBrape.
I feel there should be an equivalent of Godwins Law for feminism, which is this: as soon as a man decides to play “devil’s advocate” in a discussion about rape, the discussion is over.
If women covering up their bodies worked, Afghanistan would have a lower rate of sexual assault than Polynesia. It doesn’t.
If not drinking alcohol worked, children would not be raped. They are.
If your advice to a woman to avoid rape is to be the most modestly dressed, soberest and first to go home, you may as well add “so the rapist will choose someone else”.
If your response to hearing a woman has been raped is “she didn’t have to go to that bar/nightclub/party” you are saying that you want bars, nightclubs and parties to have no women in them. Unless you want the women to show up, but wear kaftans and drink orange juice. Good luck selling either of those options to your friends.
Or you could just be honest and say that you don’t want less rape, you want (even) less prosecution of rapists.
Be honest: You don’t give a shit about rape victims.
You don’t fucking care.
You make excuses for the rapists all the damn time.
This is about policing women’s bodies and telling them to just ‘shut up and stop complaining about your rape because you deserved it’
*This site contains content that may be triggering to survivors of rape, sexual assault and abuse. For places you can go for support and advice please see our‘Get Support’ page.*
‘Using The Words’ is a project to share stories of surviving rape and sexual abuse. On these pages, you will find the voices of people who are living through these experiences. They discuss what happened to them, the impact it had, and how they coped with what was happening. The stories are told by survivors, and the people close to them. Many of these stories will be published as a zine in Autumn 2013, but as we collect stories and edit for the zine we’re going to use this blog to share some of the stories that have been sent to us. If you would like to send in a story, please see the ‘Tell Your Story’ page.
We started this project as part of a journey of personal healing. We are survivors, and we are the partners, friends, and family of survivors. We wanted to reach out and understand how our experiences connect to others, and to try to find a language to name what was going on. This is the place we chose. And these are some reasons we chose it.
Sharing our knowledge
We wanted to create a resource that could be shaped and shared. As we go on our personal journeys we often feel very alone, and unsure of how to cope with what is happening. We wanted to create a space where people could see that they are very far from alone, and strategies for survival are shared. We also wanted it to be a space where people could read testimonies from survivors and supporters about parts of the journey yet to come, in the hope it would help them to feel more prepared.
Creating a language of survival
It can feel very scary to try to name and describe our experiences. The word ‘rape’ can make people visibly flinch, or look away. Though for each person the words are different, we want to try and break some of the stigma of discussing rape and abuse. We wanted to create a space where it is ok to use whatever words we need to describe what happened, and where together we can create our own language of survival. This is also a space where friends and relatives can come to start to listen, to confront these words, and to prepare themselves to listen to those close to them.
In our own communities
Through our journeys we have come to understand how ‘out there’ others think rape and abuse is. The media would have us think it only happens in other countries, in the 1970s, to other types of people, to weak people, to ‘victims’. We wanted to create this space to show that it happens everywhere, all the time, to people who are like you as well as people who aren’t, to people you know.
That’s why we write, and why we would like others to write with us.
Awesome new project.
On International Women’s Day 2013, in a London Underground tube carriage on the Northern line, one woman took the radical step of reclaiming the space in which she was sexually assaulted.
When a man pressed his erection into Ellie Cosgrave’s behind on a crowded tube and left her with semen running down her legs, she felt the powerlessness that mark so many women’s daily experiences of harassment and assault. But like thousands of other women in the new wave of feminism sweeping the UK, Cosgrave is taking a stand; finding her own, individual way to fight back and refusing to be silenced any more.
Returning to the carriage where she was assaulted, she performed a dance to express the anger, embarrassment and discomfort that she felt. Next to her stands a sign reading: “On the 4th Aug 2011 a man ejaculated on me in this carriage. Today I’m standing up against sexual harassment everywhere.”
So let me just get two things out of the way before I get really, really deep in detail about one specific aspect of the Oscars intro last night:
1) it was super, super-long and self-indulgent. Even by Oscar standards. It was like half an hour before anybody got an award and I laughed maybe twice. Seth McFarlane being delighted by himself is ok when sublimated into a half-hour cartoon, it’s not really tolerable when mugged at the screen by a guy in a suit for the same amount of time. It isn’t actually funny, and thus fails the first test: the test of comedy.
2) in the thick of the “We Saw Your Boobs” song, which must have lasted five minutes all by itself, this line jumped out at me: “Jodie Foster in ‘The Accused’”. And I thought to myself “wait, isn’t her nudity in that movie part of a *rape scene*?” It threw a really sour note into what was supposed to be light-hearted.
But the in-depth thing I want to talk about is the “reaction shots” to the song, pre-taped by game actresses who were playing along. The substance of these reaction shots highlights just what’s so awful about McFarlane singing this song: mortification from most of the actresses and a little fist-pump of triumph from Jennifer Lawrence when he says we haven’t seen hers.
The song, the reaction shots and Seth McFarlane’s general attitude are all based on a commonplace and awful trope: that sex is a contest, and that men win and women lose when sex or nudity happens. It’s an archaic, prudish, creepy concept that derives from twisted notions about female purity and women-as-property.
McFarlane thinks if he has seen a woman’s breasts, he has won and she has lost, and he is now entitled to gloat about it. Women whose breasts Seth McFarlane has seen are meant to feel humiliated and degraded by that fact, even though it’s expected of actresses to show their breasts to get work. Meet the expectations placed on you by your industry, talented actresses? Too bad you’ve now injured your own dignity such that Seth McFarlane can mock you about it in front of a billion people. Even if your character is naked *because she’s being raped* (see point 2 above), it still amounts to a victory for Seth McFarlane to have seen your breasts.
McFarlane presents the whole skit as something he shouldn’t do, which makes it even worse, because he wants to get credit for the cleverness of his idea while also pretending it is beneath him. Which is completely candy-ass and cowardly.
The sexuality-as-contest-between-men-and-women thing is bubbling underneath so much that is awful: rape culture, workplace harassment, slut-shaming, abuse-themed porn, pick-up artist culture, etc., etc. It sets aside women as a separate thing from a person, and makes them into an object that is “ruined” by sex or nudity.
In a culture with a healthy attitude about sex and sexuality, McFarlane’s song would have no sting at all, because nudity in film would be a completely different sort of animal: it wouldn’t be compulsory for actresses to draw that “I am pure and don’t ghet naked”/”I am fallen and thus am only good for getting naked” line, and there wouldn’t be shame associated with having been naked on screen. There would be no sting in McFarlane smugly taunting women whose boobs he’s seen.
We don’t, yet, live in that culture. And when Seth McFarlane plays “sex is a contest and YOU LOST, Kate Winslet” for laughs, it’s depressingly clear how far we are from it.
When McFarlane reduces Swank’s amazingly powerful performance down to a punchline about her body, he’s doing more than making light of her talent. He’s literally inviting people to laugh at rape and murder. He’s construing breasts as existing for men’s pleasure, whether sexual pleasure or just to make fun of, all the time—even when they belong to people, like Brandon Teena in Boys Don’t Cry, who identify as men. Even when they are exposed as part of a badly injured body, like Charlize Theron in Monster—another film based on a true story. Even when they symbolize the racist sexualization of black women by white men, like Halle Berry in Monster’s Ball. Even when they’re visible during a violent gang rape, as passerby cheer the attackers on, like Jodie Foster in The Accused, once again based on a real-life attack. Even when, like Scarlet Johansson, another target of the boob song, personal nude photographs of them were leaked without consent.
I posted last week asking people if they knew of some good resources for male victims of sexual assault. Here is the list people came up with:
reblog for signal boost
Why We’re Rising
Becca and Emily talk about why they’re rising and show off some of their totally sweet and not at all ridiculous dance moves for One Billion Rising.
Find out more at http://onebillionrising.org